AS THE Brexit caravan gathers pace we saw one small implication of it with the government’s introduction of its Nuclear Safeguards Bill. 

This piece of legislation is required for if the UK government is unable to remain within Euratom or negotiate associate status then it will be required to set up a new regulatory body, in this case the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). 

This matters to us locally for as one of the homes of nuclear power with the now decommissioned Berkeley Station and Nuclear Labs it is vital that there is a body to oversee this industry. 

The UK joined Euratom in 1973 as part of its obligation to expedite inclusion within the then Common Market. 

Of course Euratom was the building block that allowed the creation of what has subsequently become the EU. 

The tenor of the debate was that it was preferable for the UK to keep its relationship with Euratom but that this might not be possible after divorce from the EU, therefore demanding that something else is put in place. 

This is important for the purposes of research, job protection and community security. 

Though it principally concerns the nuclear industry it also encompasses the medical context because it also oversees radioactive isotopes use and disposal.

Even the hard Brexiteers accept that trying to go our own way over issues such as nuclear safeguarding is a step too far, but trying to maintain the status quo may not be permissible. 

Worries include where we will get the expertise to manage the ONR from and how this will impact on our relationships with the wider world. 

Whatever ones views on nuclear power, and certainly the possible reincarnation of the industry through Hinckley Point C it is vital that we get this aspect of our regulation right.

It remains absolutely clear that exercises such as this will dominate the Brexit environment from now on. 

The debate that took place at Second Reading was hardly a good precedent. 

The government appeared to be arrogating to itself far too many powers leaving Parliament in its slipstream. 

Clearly if this is the way it is to behave in the forthcoming Withdrawal Bill we are in for some contentious debates and it is vital that we hold the government to account before it fetters us through ignorance and an overbearing approach.

Sadly it has not started well and needs to recognise that it is accountable to Parliament and must accept that it will listen and respond accordingly.

David Drew

MP for the Stroud Constituency